Thứ Tư, 8 tháng 3, 2017


AIIB to offer loans for HCM City infrastructure projects
The secretary of HCM City’s Party Committee, Đinh La Thăng, on Monday met with Jin Liqun, the chairman of the Asian Investment and Infrastructure Bank (AIIB) to discuss financing for infrastructure projects in the city.
The city needs a total investment of about US$50 billion to develop infrastructure, Thăng said, adding that he welcomed the support of the AIIB as well as other investors.
The chairman of AIIB said loans would be offered for development projects at preferential rates equal to or better than other international financial organisations.
He said that AIIB wanted to help to resolve the city’s problems, including traffic congestion, waste treatment and urban transport infrastructure.
The bank will also provide preferential loans to support the city’s private businesses operating in infrastructure development, according to Jin.
He noted that Việt Nam was developing quickly, with one of the fastest economic growth rates in Asia.
Thăng said the city would offer the bank favourable conditions in lending or direct investment to implement key projects.
Thermal tech assoc chairman: Coal-fueled power plants inevitable


Vietnam has no other choice but to continue building coal-fueled power plants to meet higher energy demand and back economic growth, said Truong Duy Nghia, chairman of the Vietnam Science and Thermal Technology Association.
Speaking at a seminar on coal-fired power generation technology and the environment in HCMC last Friday, Nghia said hydropower has almost reached its full potential in Vietnam, the cost of gas-fueled electricity generation remains high, and the nation's first nuclear power plants have been shelved. Therefore, the country will have to continue building coal-fueled power stations in the coming years.
Phuong Hoang Kim, deputy head of the General Directorate of Energy under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said power development is crucial to economic growth. If the country wants to achieve gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 7% a year in 2016-2020, commercial electricity supply should grow at least 10% in the period and 16% in 2021-2025. 
Large- and medium-scale hydropower plants with a combined capacity of around 20,000 MW are running at full tilt, and the country can develop new small-scale hydropower facilities after 2020. Meanwhile, coal stocks for power generation total 45-50 million tons, a volume which is sufficient to generate 15,000 MW of power. The electricity sector may have to import 82 million tons of coal this year and 85 million tons in 2020.  
Kim said the country would have to buy gas from foreign suppliers from 2023 to fuel thermal power stations as domestic supply of natural gas would dwindle then. Sources of renewable energy like hydropower, wind and solar will account for 21% of the country’s total power output by 2030. 
Kim said thermal power plants will continue playing a vital role in the coming years. They are projected to account for 49% of total power output in 2020, 55% in 2025 and about 50% in 2030 based on the demand which is predicted to rise to 235 billion kWh in 2020, 352 billion kWh in 2025 and 506 billion kWh in 2030.
More investment in new coal-fueled power stations has caused concern among experts about the country’s energy development strategy. What technology will be used to control emissions at coal-fired power projects is a tough question, according to experts.
Experts were quoted by local media as saying that coal-fueled power facilities pollute the air, water resources and land around their premises. They discharge mercury, arsenic, lead, heavy metals and dust into the environment, causing acid rains harmful to agricultural and fish farming.
Experts warned coal-fired power stations would have lasting impact on the environment and the marine ecosystem.
However, Nghia told the seminar that a number of organizations and scientists, including those who are not experts in coal-fired power generation, have not provided sufficient evidence on its potential effects, prompting a misunderstanding among the public.
Nghia said it was reported that a survey of Harvard University had found every year around 4,300 people in Vietnam died of diseases caused by pollutants from coal-fueled power plants. The local media did not make clear where it took the survey as there has not been a survey on deaths caused by coal-fired power generation in Vietnam.
He wondered why the university had not warned the United States, Australia, Germany and China where there are large-scale coal-fueled power plants. 
A number of newspapers quoted experts as saying that the Mekong Delta region would need to invest in 14 coal-fired power plants and their emissions would total 70 million cubic meters of water at 40 degrees Celsius, affecting the environment. If this had been the case, coal-fueled power plants in Vietnam and elsewhere in the world should have already been shut down, he stressed.
Nguyen Duy Binh, head of the production technical department at Vietnam Electricity Group (EVN), said coal is a source of energy which could be used for about 300 years and it would continue to be a main energy supply in Vietnam. It is important to reduce dust emissions at coal-fueled power stations so as to control air pollution.
Binh said EVN has installed systems to deodorize sulfur in emissions at eight of its 11 coal-fueled power stations and tools to filter electrostatic dust at all the facilities. Their water is cooled before it is discharged into the environment, and the group is looking for firms to buy its well-stored ash to make tiles, cement and prefabricated building materials.
VND54 trillion in G-bonds, govt-guaranteed bonds sold in Jan-Feb
VND54.1 trillion (US$2.37 billion) was raised from sales of Government bonds (G-bond) and Government-guaranteed bonds in the first two months of this year, according to the Ministry of Finance.
The ministry said in a report last week that of the total, G-bond sales of over VND41.9 trillion met 22.9% of the whole year’s target of VND183.3 trillion. Of the amount, VND26.9 trillion was raised from G-bond auctions on the market and VND15 trillion by Vietnam Social Insurance.
The secondary market saw an average daily volume of G-bonds and Government-guaranteed bonds worth VND4.37 trillion sold in February, down a staggering 31.3% compared to the average of last year. 
In the January-February period, the ministry clinched four borrowing agreements totaling US$203.2 million. In the year to February 22, the country had paid VND5.82 trillion (US$262.8 million) for foreign creditors and disbursed over VND5.77 trillion in foreign loans.
The ministry estimated budget collections totaled VND185.8 trillion in the first two months, equivalent to 15.3% of the year’s estimate. Budget contributions from State-owned enterprises reached only 11.5% of the year’s target, environmental protection tax 14.4%, and public land and assets in communes 11.1%.
Meanwhile, total budget spending had reached VND175.8 trillion, 12.6% of the year’s estimate, in the year to February 28.
The VN-Index, the main index of Vietnam’s stock market, rose to 710.79 points at the end of February, up 6.9% over late last year, while the HNX-Index closed 8.4% higher at 86.83 points. Market cap neared VND2,217 trillion, leaping 14% over December 2016 and equivalent to 49.2% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
VCCI proposes scrapping 24 poor rules
Chairman Vu Tien Loc of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) has written to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc proposing doing away with 24 of the 30 regulations that have been rated as improper by the business community.
VCCI published a report on February 28 on a vote for 30 good and 30 bad regulations.
VCCI has petitioned the Prime Minister to order relevant ministries and agencies to quickly modify the inappropriate rules. Meanwhile, the chamber has suggested the Prime Minister commend the ministries and agencies related to the 30 regulations that have been praised as good.
The VCCI assessment on legal documents was carried out in line with the Government's Resolution 19/NQ-CP and Resolution 35/NQ-CP on collection of enterprises’ views on regulations issued by ministries, ministerial-level agencies and local authorities. This is also a preparatory step for the Prime Minister’s forthcoming meeting with business executives this year.
Some of the bad rules sought for annulment:
Clause 8, Article 4 of the Government's Decree 05/2015/ND-CP which provide detailed guidelines for implementation of the Labor Code. The clause requires employment contracts to include a term on labor safety for staff which makes clear volume, category, quality and duration of use of each labor safety equipment.
Clause 1, Article 7 of the Government’s Decree 78/2015/ND-CP on business registration, which requires businesses to use level-four business codes (which have four digits). However, how to choose appropriate codes is tough.
Clause 1, Article 50 of the Ministry of Transport’s Circular 63/2014/TT-BGTVT that stipulates transportation of goods without direct charges must have a business license.
Point b, Clause 5, Article 5 of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Circular 21/2015/TT-BNNPTNT that restricts registration of active substance content for each type of finished plant protection products.
Clause 1, Article 9 of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's Circular 12/2015/TT-BNNPTNT that imposes an import condition on commodities originating from flora that exporting countries must have registered with Vietnam.
Article 1 of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Circular 20/2011/TT-BCT that specifies importers of passenger cars of nine seats or fewer must have a letter of authorization from manufacturers.
Articles 3, 4 and 5 of the Ministry of Information and Communication’s Circular 09/2014/TT-BTTTT which provides conditions for establishment of social networking websites.
The regulations proposed for amendment:
Article 16 of the Ministry of Finance's Circular 56/2014/TT-BTC guiding implementation of Decree 177/2013/ND-CP with details and guidelines on the implementation of a number of articles of the Price Law, which should be revised to permit enterprises to notify State agencies, instead of asking them for approval.
Article 25 of the Government’s Decree 83/2015/ND-CP, which should be changed so as to allow local businesses to inform authorities of their termination of offshore investment projects, instead of seeking approval from authorities.
Clause 1, Article 4 of the Ministry of Public Security's Circular 57/2015/TT-BCA, which should be revised in a way that does not require passenger cars of nine seats or below to have fire equipment.
Article 106 of the Labor Code 2012, which should be revised to increase the minimum overtime hours for workers.
Gasoline prices slightly drop
The domestic retail price of RON 92 petrol and E5 bio-fuel dropped by 76 VND and 58 VND per litre, respectively, from 15:00 on March 6, following a joint decision by the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Finance.
This has been the first reduction of petrol prices for the year 2017. 
With the decision, the ceiling prices of RON 92 and E5 bio-fuel are 18,022 VND and 17,760 VND per litre, respectively.
The price of diesel 0.05S inched up 142 VND per litre, while that of paraffin oil was up by 76 VND per litre, to 14,447 VND and 12,834 VND per litre, respectively.
The average global price of RON 92 during the last 15 days to March 6 was 65.677 USD per barrel, down 2 USD compared with previous price adjustment, hence the reduction in the domestic prices.
The prices of petrol and oil are adjusted every 15 days by the two ministries depending on changes in the world market.
TPP expected to continue despite US withdrawal: VCCI
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), whose fate seems uncertain after the US’ withdrawal, will certainly continue in another form, the Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) has said.
“We believe that TPP member countries, even the US, don’t want to waste the six years of negotiation and the large opportunities the trade deal would bring,” Vũ Tiến Lộc, chairman of VCCI, said to reporters last week.
“The TPP will certainly continue. It could be a bilateral or multilateral trade deal,” he said, adding that it, however, may come into effect at a later date than previously scheduled, which was 2018.
Việt Nam has a lot of expectations from the TPP and the European Union-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) as they open large markets and create significant opportunities for trade growth and for improving domestic economic institutions.
The fate of the TPP became uncertain in January after US President Donald Trump signed an executive order formally withdrawing the US from the 12-nation trade deal on his fourth day in office.
In 2016, the US was Việt Nam’s largest export market, bringing in a revenue of US$38.5 billion, a 15 per cent rise over the same period last year, customs statistics showed. The US has maintained this position in the first two months of 2017, with the turnover rising by 18.9 per cent compared to the same period last year, to $6 billion.
With the TPP on shaky legs, Việt Nam is now looking more towards the EVFFTA, which is expected to come into force in 2018.
Việt Nam should focus on three measures to grasp opportunities from the EVFTA, which include hastening the signing and approval of the EVFTA, continuing institutional reforms, and improving its competitiveness and business environment, Lộc said.
The trade deal will help connect the Southeast Asian country of nearly 90 million people to the European Union (EU), which has an estimated population of 500 million. The market size would be nearly 1 billion if the ASEAN markets are included.
Việt Nam’s export to the EU in the first two months of 2017 reached $5.4 billion, up 13.2 per cent, while import from these markets rose by 24.6 per cent to $1.7 billion.
To date, Việt Nam has signed 12 bilateral and multilateral trade deals, 10 of which have already come into force. Four other Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) are under negotiation, including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, ASEAN-Hong Kong FTA, FTA with Israel and with European Free Trade Association.
State units earn VNĐ14 trillion from divestment
State-owned enterprises (SOEs) have contributed VNĐ14.2 trillion (US$621 million) to the coffers through divestment in the first two months of 2017, the finance ministry has said.
Around VNĐ36.3 billion has come from selling stakes in five sensitive areas – securities, insurance, banking and finance, real estate, and investment funds – and another VNĐ2.1 trillion from other fields.
The State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) sold stakes worth VNĐ1.2 trillion in 11 companies, earning a total of VNĐ12.1 trillion. Of the estimates, SCIC divested VNĐ780 billion from the Việt Nam Dairy Products JSC (Vinamilk). It gained nearly VNĐ11.3 trillion from the sale of Vinamilk stocks.
Though no SOEs have been equitised in the first two months of this year, those companies listed for equitisation in the 2016-20 period are actively involved in the process.
In 2016, 56 enterprises were approved for equitisation. The total value of these firms was VNĐ34 trillion, of which the State capital was valued at VNĐ24.4 trillion.
As per the equitisation plan, the charter capital of the 56 companies was VNĐ24.37 trillion, of which the State held VNĐ11.9 trillion. The stakes sold to strategic investors were worth VNĐ7 trillion, those sold to workers were worth VNĐ388 billion, and shares sold at public auctions were worth VNĐ4.3 trillion.
Construction of Melia Ho Tram at Hamptons condotel begins     
Tanzanite International has begun construction of the Melia Ho Tram at the Hamptons on Ho Tram Beach in Ba Ria – Vung Tau.
The condotel, situated around 95km from HCM City, measures 16.9 hectares, including 518 metres of private beach, in a place considered to be among the most promising for tourism development in Viet Nam.
Construction will be in two phases, with 156 hotel suites and 82 villas built in the first and 16 villas in the second.
They have been designed by foreign companies Sala Design Group and KKS and their local counterparts CMV Architects and 2050AP.
The resort will have plenty of space for facilities like a spa, gym, sports and recreational activities, restaurants and bars, and will be managed by Melia.
The construction is being done by AIC Management and Sagotic JSC.
Business community acknowledges progress in tax procedures reform
The business community acknowledged progress in the tax sector’s administrative reform but urged more efforts in improving law quality, simplifying procedures, applying IT and cutting informal costs, according to a report released at a workshop in Hanoi on March 7.
In opening the event, President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Vu Tien Loc underlined the significance of the report on the satisfaction of enterprises with the taxation sector, the second of its kind, saying that it provided a channel for firms to express their assessment of the tax sector’s performance.
Nearly 3,500 enterprises across 63 provinces and cities participated in the survey for the report. 
According to Dau Anh Tuan – head of the Legal Department of the VCCI, the 2016 report showed positive changes in the tax sector compared to the previous one in 2014. He cited as an example that 78 percent of surveyed enterprises said it was easy to access law documents on tax, compared to 51 percent in 2014.
The respondents also recognised the improvement in the attitude of tax officers, and more favourable conditions in carrying out tax procedures.
At the same time, the business community wanted better quality of tax-related legal documents and publicity work to support tax payers. They urged the sector to continue simplifying tax procedures and expanding the application of information technology.
More effective measures are needed to reduce unofficial fees while strengthening monitoring and supervision of tax payment and greater support should be provided for micro and small-sized enterprises in observing tax-related law, the surveyed businesses said.
Pham Sy Danh, Chairman of Vietnam Association of Certified Practicing Auditors (VACPA) underlined improvements in the tax procedures, noting that 32 procedures had been eliminated and 40 others simplified. 
He, however, said that many tax regulations remain obscure and the sector should continue to improve them, including the system of tax forms. 
The report on the satisfaction of enterprises with the taxation sector was unveiled by the VCCI, the Ministry of Finance’s General Department of Taxation, and the World Bank.
Huge trade potential in Australia     
The opportunities for Viet Nam to tap the Australian market are huge if businesses create competitive products up to international standards, experts have said.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Viet Nam and Australia enjoy favourable conditions to boost economic and trade ties.
Two-way trade reached US$5.26 billion in 2016, a year-on-year increase of 6.5 per cent.
The Vietnamese trade office in Australia said Viet Nam posted a trade surplus of about US$480 million in 2016.
Growth was seen in cameras and spare parts, iron and steel products, apparel and footwear materials, computers, electronic products and components, and interior decoration.
Australia has demand for Vietnamese staples such as garment-textiles, footwear, seafood, and timber products.
It also imports Vietnamese lychees, which have enjoyed a surge in export turnover over the past two years.
The Vietnamese trade office in Australia noted that Australian consumers are open to imported goods and they care about quality, appearance and price.
The most urgent thing to do is to popularise Vietnamese products and connect businesses with the market.
Australian importers do not accept products which fail to meet their quality standards and they attach great importance to long-term business partnerships.
Robert Chua, an Australian market consultant, said import demand in Australia is huge but Vietnamese products are not strong enough to dominate the market.
In fact, Australia imports various products from Asia-Pacific countries, including Viet Nam, especially footwear and garment-textiles.
Therefore, it is essential to improve the quality management of manufacturing factories and abide by global criteria on plant protection drugs, dyes and food additives, experts suggested.
Businesses could invite quality control experts and skilled workers from Australia to work in Viet Nam to popularise locally-made products, they advised.
Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh called on the two sides to exert efforts to drive bilateral trade forward, on par with their economic potential and comprehensive partnership.
The enforcement of the free trade agreement between ASEAN, Australia and New Zealand has helped increase Viet Nam-Australia trade ties, creating a significant milestone in the two countries’ relationship, he added.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade will entrust its Import-Export Department to address difficulties via a hotline and simplify administrative procedures as well as promulgate documents to highlight opportunities and challenges from free trade agreements for businesses to help them boost exports, he said.
Since Viet Nam and Australia normalised relations in 1973, bilateral ties have been reinforced by external affairs, trade, and economy.
Bilateral rapport has developed since the two nations set up a comprehensive partnership in 2009, especially in economy and trade.
Singapore shares urban development expertise with HCM City
Singapore’s experience in sustainable urban development such as transport, environment, trade and industry was shared with officials of Ho Chi Minh City during a working session on March 7.
Talking to municipal officials, Singapore’s former Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan said his country faced the same challenges as many big cities in Asia.
To achieve sustainable development, a city must build a strong economy while ensuring good living standards and protecting the environment. It must issue effective development policies and programmes, he noted.
He also shared Singapore’s expertise in solving problems in housing, education, public transport, personal vehicle management, and wastewater treatment.
Valuing Mah Bow Tan’s experience, Vice Chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee Le Thanh Liem said his city is facing an array of challenges such as transport, floods and pollution.
The experience Mah Bow Tan shared will help HCM City devise appropriate solutions to those challenges, he added.
Argentinian, Chilean left-wing women visit HCM City
A delegation of left-wing women from Argentina and Chile, led by President of the Argentina-Vietnam Cultural Institute (ICAV) Poldi Sosa, visited the War Remnants Museum and met with former Con Dao female prisoners in Ho Chi Minh City on March 7.
At the meeting, Sosa said she and many international friends have great admiration for Vietnam’s fight for national liberation and the country’s socio-economic achievements.
On the occasion, she also presented some documents to the War Remnants Museum, including pictures and newspapers articles on demonstrations in Argentina and Chile supporting Vietnam during the quest for national liberation.
The ICAV has sent several delegations to study Vietnamese culture and people while extending a warm welcome to delegations from Ho Chi Minh City.
Sosa started a movement to support Vietnam during the US war from 1967. She was granted the Friendship Medal by former President Tran Duc Luong during his visit to Argentina in November, 2004. 
HCMC resolved to have 500,000 enterprises by 2020
The HCMC government has shown a strong determination to increase the number of active enterprises to half a million by 2020.
To this end, the city is working hard to help household businesses register as enterprises, improve the business and investment environment, create a startup ecosystem, and support those investing in new equipment and technology and expanding production.
As of December 31, 2016, the city had had 295,235 enterprises with total chartered capital of over VND2,245 trillion, according to a report which the Department of Planning and Investment sent to the municipal government last Thursday. The number of newly registered enterprises in 2016 was 36,339, while the number of firms dissolved was 3,833.
A majority of HCMC-based enterprises are active in wholesale, retail, and vehicle repair (38.91%), manufacturing and processing (11.07%), construction (9.92%), science, technology, consulting, design, advertising and others (9.61%), and accommodation and catering services (4.41%).
The city is expected to have 607,185 by 2020 to offset the number of dissolved firms. To meet the target, at least 100,000 household businesses should be converted into enterprises.
Thus, the Department of Planning and Investment has proposed plans to back household businesses to switch to enterprises, with each district having a specific target. For the districts with a lot of household businesses, their targets should be higher than those for the others.
Districts 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7 are assigned to attain a 20% increase in newly-registered enterprises. The rate is 15% for districts 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, Binh Tan, Binh Thanh, Go Vap, Phu Nhuan, Tan Binh, Tan Phu and Thu Duc, and 10% for districts 12, Binh Chanh, Can Gio, Cu Chi, Hoc Mon and Nha Be.
In the coming years, the city will focus on developing distribution networks, wholesale and retail, assisting product consumption. A modern warehouse system will be built. Seaport, logistics and import-export services will be improved for optimal operation.
The city will adopt solutions to remove any hindrances to the real estate market. An appropriate mechanism will be created to attract finances from international financial institutions, investment funds, insurance firms and finance leasing companies, among others.
Bricks and mortar sales bring highest profits
Sales at bricks and mortar outlets is where the highest profits can be made, according to research released recently by Bizweb, part of the DKT Technology Joint Stock Company.
It researched 5,000 website owners, of which three-quarters have physical stores.
Sale at shops or showrooms brings the highest rate of profit, at 38.9 per cent, followed by websites with 35.7 per cent, Facebook 33.8 per cent, and e-commerce platforms 11.9 per cent.
Owners also use Zalo, Instagram, YouTube and online forums for sales but not effectively.
The omni channel approach has become a trend among businesses, replacing traditional sales channels, with retailers applying multiple channels to approach customers.
The research also found that marketing budgets at physical outlets in 2016 increased 16 per cent compared to 2015.
Ninety-two per cent of shops invest in marketing. Over 70 per cent invest more than VND10 million ($438) per month and 26 per cent more than VND20 million ($877), or as much as three times the figure in 2015.
Most shops investing less than VND10 million ($438) per month on marketing have not grown significantly in the last year, which is proof of the role marketing plays.
“If shops keep thinking sales are low and want to save on marketing costs, it will be very difficult to see a breakthrough,” said Mr. Tran Trong Tuyen, CEO of DKT Technology. “Rather, shops should think about how much marketing is needed to reach revenue targets.”
He added that shop owners should focus on sales and let others take care of technology.
Bizweb is an online sales platform popular in Vietnam, where 27,000 clients sell goods.
The DKT Technology JSC was founded on August 20, 2008 with a passion for success in the field of e-commerce. Thanks to a clear strategy, it has rapidly developed and been successful. In the 2010-2015 period it continuously achieved growth of 300 per cent. As at February this year, it has more than 27,000 business customers and expects to reach 50,000 by 2018.
HoREA: Nine ways to boost HCMC's property market
The Ho Chi Minh City Real Estate Association (HoREA) has sent a proposal for the development of the city’s real estate market in the 2017-2020 period to the city’s People’s Committee.
 HoREA: Nine ways to boost HCMC's property market
 Ho Chi Minh City Real Estate Association sends development proposal to city's People's Committee.
Nine solutions have been put forward. Firstly, HoREA proposes the National Assembly approve the draft “Law Amending and Supplementing a Number of Articles of the Law on Investment and Business” to effectively adjust the economy and the real estate market. It will also create a transparent business environment and build and develop a transparent and sustainable real estate market.
Second is to reform administrative procedures in a simple, transparent, open and fast manner.
Third is about tax policy. To encourage market growth, a lower tax rate should be applied to income from transferring real estate. To properly regulate when the market shows signs of a bubble appearing, higher rates can then be applied. To encourage investment in and the development of social housing, the government has applied a 5 per cent value added tax rate and a 10 per cent of corporate income tax rate.
Fourth relates to credit tools. In order to encourage market growth, HoREA proposes applying policies to loosen credit and cut interest rates. When the market shows signs of a bubble appearing, credit restrictions can then be applied, including credit tightening, high interest rates, stricter loan policies, and credit growth control. HoREA said that credit policy is becoming an effective tool to regulate the real estate market.
The association also proposed the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) direct commercial banks to develop internal operating regulations to encourage developers, contractors, consultants, and customers to open accounts. These would facilitate banks in monitoring cash flows for the right purpose, help investors and stakeholders to effectively use credit, and minimize risks for customers.
Fifth is regarding planning tools, including land use planning, construction planning, urban development planning, and housing project planning. In order to encourage market growth, HoREA proposes the State approve an increased supply of land funds to the market and bolster policies for investing in real estate projects. When the market shows signs of bubble appearing, policies restricting the supply of land to the market can then be applied, with limits on the approval of real estate investment projects.
Sixth is that the government apply risk control tools in the real estate market. Such measures are aimed at protecting consumers and building a transparent and sustainable real estate market.
Seventh is implementing a coordination mechanism for developers, contractors, suppliers, banks, and the government.
Eighth is implementing a socialization mechanism for investment in the form of land exchanges with infrastructure, through build-transfer (BT) and public-private partnership (PPP) projects.
Finally, HoREA proposed developing social housing, affordable housing, and cheap commercial housing. This is the foundation for the development of the city’s real estate market.
UN high-level meeting continues trade facilitation discussion
Delegates to the UN high-level meeting for the Euro-Asia region on improving cooperation on transit, trade facilitation and the 2030 agenda for sustainable development will seek how to work together to facilitate international trade on their second day in Hanoi on March 8.
The three-day UN meeting, opened on March 7, was jointly held by Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry and the UN Office for the high representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS).
On the day, the delegates will seek measures to step up cooperation between landlocked and transit countries to promote trade and facilitate international commerce as well as share success stories.
They will also discuss enhancing legal cooperation bilaterally, regionally and globally for landlocked and transit countries as well as find solutions to using existing related agreements in a more efficient manner to make it easier for transit activities.
On this occasion, the delegates will share national strategies and experience in customs cooperation.
At the opening session on March 7, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said Vietnam believes that strengthening international collaboration with the engagement of various parties is crucial to help countries, including transit and landlocked nations, to overcome challenges and achieve sustainable development goals.
He affirmed that Vietnam always attaches much importance to fostering relations, including economic connectivity, with its neighbouring countries, adding that their success and prosperity will create positive impacts on Vietnam’s growth and ensure sustainability for the whole region.
UN meeting debates cooperation in transit, trade facilitation
A high-level UN meeting in Hanoi on March 7 discussed challenges and opportunities in developing transit infrastructure and corridors.
The ongoing meeting for the Euro-Asia region on improving cooperation in transit and trade facilitation and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is being held by Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry and the UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and the Small Island Developing States.
Ambassador Michael B. Christides, Secretary General of the Organisation of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), said countries should be aware of the importance of transport and trade facilitation to connect regions and continents. He said it was necessary to boost connectivity between Asia and Europe.
He said the BSEC plans to form an expressway network in the Black Sea area to link the capitals of the member countries. It also plans to upgrade existing roads to meet European standards.
Another project on upgrading sea routes of the Mediterranean and North Polar regions is being considered to reduce road transport and increase the volume of goods transported by sea, thus saving expenses.
Christides also suggested cooperation in streamlining and harmonising customs and border check procedures to facilitate trade.
Meanwhile, Mircea Ciopraga, Secretary General of the Intergovernmental Commission of the Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia (TRACECA), said as public capital cannot fully fund projects, TRACECA has called for funds from the private sector. Public-private partnerships have proven effective. 
The improvement of transport infrastructure in TRACECA has also been made along with measures to ensure the smooth movement of goods and persons, and the application of IT in transport, he said.
At the meeting, participants discussed enhancing cooperation between landlocked and transit countries to promote the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. They looked into the role of transport to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in landlocked nations.
Macharia Kamau, Special Envoy on Sustainable Development Goals implementation and climate change, said being landlocked doesn’t mean a country is unable to prosper and progress. 
These countries should consider being landlocked as an advantage to create momentum for scientific and technological advances, thereby remaining part of the development flow and benefiting from the same progress and integration as other nations.
VN Index struggles to maintain growth
The VN-Index on the HCM Stock Exchange closed almost flat yesterday on investor caution over a possible lending rate increase by the US central bank and exchange-traded funds’ portfolio review.
The benchmark index was up 0.03 per cent to end at 716.54 points, near the february 22 nine-year peak of 717.24. It has gained 1.3 per cent in the last three trading days.
Market trading liquidity rose compared to Monday with more than 195.6 million shares being exchanged, worth VNĐ3.82 trillion (US$169.8 million).
Foreign investors turned to net sellers, recording a net sell value of VNĐ106.2 billion compared to a net buy value of VNĐ19 billion on Monday.
Among the top 10 largest listed companies, dairy producer Vinamilk (VNM), HCM City-based brewer Sabeco (SAB), Vietinbank (CTG) and Bank for Investment and Development of Việt Nam (BID) were decliners.
VNM fell 0.7 per cent, SAB lost 0.8 per cent, CTG edged down 0.5 per cent and BID decreased by 0.6 per cent. Smaller groups such as rubber and plastic producers also dropped from their closing levels on Monday. Binh Minh Plastic JSC (BMP) was down 0.5 per cent, Da Nang Rubber JSC (DRC) declined by 0.7 per cent and Phuoc Hoa Rubber JSC (PHR) shed 1.8 per cent.
Some of the energy, property and construction stocks maintained their positive trends to lift the market. Faros Construction Corp (ROS) and Hoa Binh Construction and Real Estate Corp (HBC) rose 2.9 per cent and 1.4 per cent, respectively.
The energy sector was boosted by PetroVietnam Drilling and Well Services Corp (PVD), which gained 2.1 per cent following the rise of crude prices.
Investor confidence is low due to lack of good business news to advance further, resulting in the mixed performance of blue chips, BIDV Securities Corp (BSC) said in its report.
The VN-Index may not surpass the 720-point level in the short term and could go sideways, the Hà Nội -based brokerage firm added.
Investors should be cautious and wait for macro-economic news to become public, such as the ETFs’ investment portfolio reviews and the US Fed’s meeting to decide whether its lending rates should be increased, BSC advised.
On the Hà Nội Stock Exchange, the HNX Index inched up 0.2 per cent to finish at 86.7 points, reversing Monday’s 0.1 per cent decline.
Nearly 54.5 million shares were traded on the northern bourse, worth nearly VNĐ 496 billion.
Reference exchange rate remains stable
The State Bank of Vietnam maintained the reference VND/USD exchange rate unchanged from the day ago at 22,246 VND/USD on March 8.
With the current /- 3 percent VND/USD trading band, the ceiling exchange rate is 22,913 VND per USD and the floor rate is 21,579 VND per USD. 
In the opening hours, some commercial banks made slight changes to their rates. 
Vietcombank listed the buying rate at 22,770 VND/USD and the selling rate at 22,840 VND/USD, up 10 VND.
BIDV set the buying rate at 22,765 VND/USD and the selling rate at 22,865 VND/USD, unchanged from March 7. 
Meanwhile, Vietinbank offered its buying rate at 22,760 VND and its selling rate at 22,830 VND, per USD, down 5 VND.
Vietnam attends largest food fair in Japan
Vietnamese food is drawing attention at the 42nd FOODEX, Japan’s largest international food and beverage exhibition, which opened in Chiba prefecture on March 7. 
Seventeen Vietnamese firms are displaying products, including fruits, vegetables, cashews, rice product, aquatic products, and juices. They are from localities with potential for agro-fishery product export, namely HCM City, Hanoi, Nghe An, Bac Giang, Hai Phong, Ninh Binh, Dong Thap, Ben Tre, Tien Giang, Dong Nai, Lam Dong, Binh Duong, and Phu Quoc.  
Vietnamese Charge d'Affaires in Japan Nguyen Truong Son said during his Vietnam visit in January, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to allow imports of Vietnamese red dragon fruits to Japan.
Vietnamese red dragon fruits are being showcased for the first time at a big trade fair like FOODEX, Son said, adding that bringing Vietnamese agricultural products to this promising market will push the development of the country’s agriculture and trade in Japan.
Vietnamese Trade Counselor to Japan Nguyen Trung Dung said FOODEX Japan 2017 represents a great opportunity for Vietnamese firms to connect with potential clients. Vietnam has recorded an increase of 140 percent in shipment of agro-forestry-fishery products to Japan.
Vietnamese agricultural products have huge potential in the Japanese market, Dung said, noting that firms should focus more on promotion activities and ensuring stable and high quality supply to carve out a niche in the market.
Kazuki Mizutani from VOX Trading Company in Japan said Vietnamese red dragon fruits are popular in Japan. Vietnamese firms need to ensure the quality of their products at a reasonable price to make inroads into the Japanese market.
The trade show, which lasts through March 10, gathers 3,250 enterprises from 83 countries and territories worldwide and is estimated to welcome 80,000 visitors.

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